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In these boom days in D.C., where “entertainment” seems ever more confined to restaurants and bars for well-to-do 30-somethings, what’s an impecunious teenage boy to do? Yeah, there’s the YMCA, summer camp, volunteering, or stuffing bags at Safeway, but those things don’t quite satisfy that nagging teenage desire to say, “Fuck the police.” That’s why skateboarding is crucial. It achieves three things deeply important to young men: 1) looking cool; 2) pissing off cops; 3) not breaking any laws serious enough to go to juvie for. (There are fringe benefits, too, like making friends, learning geography, and getting exercise, but that sounds a little after-school special.) In harDCore terms, the kids grinding handrails downtown today would probably have been the same ones moshing at the Wilson Center in 1981. But since D.C. has long since swapped its punk scene for charcuterie and organized snowball fights, we have Go Skateboarding Day, an annual event hosted by U Street NW-area skate shop Palace 5ive. Now in its fifth year, the all-day celebration has a few tentacles: It’s part cookout, part gear giveaway, and part skate odyssey, usually culminating in a massive ride down 14th Street toward Freedom Plaza (known as The Pulaski among skaters). The shop is planning to hand out scads of free T-shirts to the skaters that show up, but to avoid a stampede, the staff is mum on the exact time. Bring your board to the lot at 14th and W streets NW, hang around the grill, and get ready to join anywhere between 700 and 1,000 kids and adults on an ambiguously legal voyage through white-collar ground zero.
“Go Skateboarding Day” begins around noon at Palace 5ive, 2216 14th St. NW. Free. To learn about more skating events through June 24, visit skateoftheunion.org.